While the economic diagnosis for the rest of America looks grim, San Francisco may be remedied by a construction boom in hospitals. In addition to California Pacific Medical Center's plans to build a 555-bed hospital on Van Ness at the site of the old Cathedral Hill Hotel, the rest of the city's medical services industry seems to be gearing up as well.
Kaiser Permanente plans a new medical office building at O'Farrell and Divisadero, and Chinese Hospital in Chinatown is putting together proposals for a new acute care facility, according to the Planning Department's Tina Tam.
Not everyone is cheering the prospect of a local hospital building boom, however. As reported in SF Weekly, the California Nurses Association labor union is calling for a pox on CPMC's Cathedral Hill plans.
Local kibitzer Charles Marsteller, meanwhile, says the construction plans may get under way without sufficient research into the question of whether hospitals will be ideally situated to care for victims in the event of an earthquake similar to the 1906 Big One.
"My concern, as a former member of the city's seismic safety committee, is that we need to be sure our loved ones can walk to a hospital on foot after an earthquake," he said. "Whatever you do, you have to predicate your thinking along those lines."